Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Porn 101: Getting at the Heart of Physics - allvoices

By Joseph Harkins

SANTA FE, N.M. _ Physics can be one of the more difficult subjects to comprehend. A longtime New Jersey physicist has just made it easier.

David Flory, 68, who dabbled in scuba diving and harbored dreams of working in theater, had other interests as well. The specialist in elementary particle theory is accused of operating a sophisticated prostitution website that may have catered to as many as 200 prostitutes and 1,200 clients.

A professor of physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Flory is a married father of three. He has taught at the school since 1969, and has a home in New Mexico.

“He would often boast and post that his website was secure because of the verification process that enforcement could not infiltrate,” said Lt. William Roseman, of the New Mexico police department.

Flory was arrested outside a local Starbucks after a tip to police. He is being held on $100,000 bond.

“It was a virtually secured website -- such as Facebook -- for homeline prostitution,” said Roseman. “And, once you became a member, you had to do certain steps before you were allowed into the website.”

Roseman said that Flory’s password-protected website --- Southwest Companions â€" has been the subject of a vice investigation for the past six months after police received tips from prostitutes and johns.

A specialist in elementary particle theory, Flory also spent a decade in the school administration, where he said he spent time working on human resource database systems and measuring academic productivity -- skills that were evident from the three-tiered system police say he created for rating the privileges of johns who used the prostitution service.

Police said the Southwest Companions website had three levels or ratings for johns: probation, verified and trust.

Although Flory faces misdemeanor charges, clientele could face far worse embarrassment. Roseman said prostitutes kept a running log of clients and sex acts performed.

Roseman said the site had been in operation about three years and had about 1,400 members -- about 200 prostitutes and about 1,200 johns. Most of the members were in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe area, though some postings originated in Phoenix and Denver.

Flory and his wife, Sharon, a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, live in an apartment on New York's Upper West Side, about 10 miles from the Fairleigh Dickinson campus. They have a vacation house in Santa Fe called Casa de Los Arboles, or "house of the trees.”

The alleged prostitution site apparently didn't make a lot of money.

"He said he was not in this for the money," said Roseman. "He flat-out told us his thing was he wanted to create a safe place for prostitutes and johns to get together. He called it a hobby."

Roseman said Flory "had dates set up" with the prostitutes when he came to New Mexico, but couldn't say for sure what happened during those encounters.

“He teaches physics,” said Peter Schaeffer, an associate professor at FDU. “He’s an outstanding, brilliant guy.”

In a statement, FDU said, “FDU is saddened by the news of the arrest of David Flory and is concerned about these serious charges. Our hearts go out to all of these impacted by the situation.”

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